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Questions tagged [palaeontology]

Palaeontology is the study of organisms that lived in prehistoric times.

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1answer
779 views

Did birds descend from a single or multiple species of dinosaur?

It seems like there are mixed results because sometimes I read about a single missing link, like an archaeopteryx that somehow single-handedly explains all modern-day birds, but then I see conflicting ...
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Identifying Fossil

Few days ago I found this stone with fossil near 6 centimeters. Can anyone identifying it. Location: Europe,Bulgaria, Elena
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2answers
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Is there really a clear distinction between dinosaurs and birds?

Traditionally, birds are classified as a class of dinosaurs and the term non-avian dinosaurs is introduced to refer to the rest. As recent discoveries suggest that some dinosaurs may have been warm-...
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Identifying Some Kind Of Fossil

This was found off the coast of Ireland by a friend of mine. The running gag is it's some kind of fetish or totem and should be immediately discarded, but we're interested in whether it's perhaps a ...
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1answer
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Ethics in Paleontology [closed]

Ethics in Paleontology Fossils help researchers understand the evolution of many lineages of plants and animals. But, who actually owns fossils? What if an important fossil (say a transitional fossil ...
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1answer
282 views

How can soft tissue exist in dinosaur fossils?

In this article the author explains that they found soft tissues inside of 68-million-year-old dinosaur fossils. How can that be possible? It was believed that soft tissues cannot last more than a ...
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1answer
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Can the Quarternary Extinction event be linked to the spread of mankind around the world?

Evidence is presented in a variety of media by Paul S. Martin as his 'Overkill hypothesis', particularly in Twilight of the Mammoths. The internet describes this idea as 'controversial.' Other than ...
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2answers
40 views

What is the number of species known through paleontological evidence?

Essentially, this question could also be asked: how many species do all of the paleontological specimens in collections (or collections records) represent? I recognize that species is a temporal ...
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2answers
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The Mystery of The Cretaceous' Songbirds

Before Passeriformes perched on the branches of our trees and sang their sweet, inspirational tunes, there was Enantiornithes, the "Opposite Birds". So far, we have discovered at least 80 species ...
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850 views

What was the first animal having fur?

Did all early mammals have fur? Is it possible to trace the origins, how early animals with fur looked like and how it evolved?
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1answer
302 views

Did vertebrates diverge from other deuterostomes via neoteny?

Question: Is there any research corroborating my suspicion that vertebrates diverged from other deuterostomes via neoteny (the attainment of sexual maturity while still in larval stage)? Context: ...
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The Perplexing Trilobite: What is the Evidence Supporting The Hypothesis That They are Not Crustaceans?

In the field of paleontology, one question that's really bugged me (er, no pun intended) of late is why the subphylum/class Trilobitomorpha/Trilobita is off on its own branch of the Arthropoda phylum, ...
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Extinction of non-mammal Synapsida

I am following M.J. Benton's Vertebrate Palaeontology, which explains how many groups of Synapsida were already extinct in the Mesozoic Era, with one obvious exception being the group of Cynodontia, ...
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166 views

How do we predict the lifespan of dinosaurs?

Of course, they are fossils now. I found a link here which states that herbivors lived far longer than carnivores. The example being a T-Rex being "old" at 29, and a herbivorous Bothriospondylus ...
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3answers
148 views

What is the human species divergence time

How far back along the evolutionary tree do we have to go to find divergence to a completely different species to Hom. sapiens? I don't count Neanderthals because it seems that part of our genome ...
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1answer
437 views

How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs? [closed]

The theory of evolution claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs only by mutation, genetic drift, migration and natural selection. However, it seems to me that wings were not selectively advantageous ...
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1answer
4k views

Was the dodo a dinosaur?

I've always believed that the dodo was a dinosaur, I don't know exactly why. I've done some searching on the internet, but except for toy stores selling "Dodo the Dinosaur's" I didn't find anything ...
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294 views

Did any dinosaur molt?

Like snakes or lizards, did any dinosaur molt ? if yes, have we any proof of it ?
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How do we know that ammonites are a kind of cephalopod rather than another type of mollusc?

On a recent fossil hunting trip, I found a small fossil that an expert identified for me as an ammonite beak. He told me such fossils are not uncommon, but are not normally found with their parent ...
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did pteranodons live in colonies?

In one book I read that pteranodons lived in huge colonies. But pteranodon's family in "Dinosaur Train" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaur_Train ) does not seem to be a part of any colony. So, ...
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1answer
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Are prosauropods ancestors of all sauropods?

My daughter, while reading a book about dinosaurs, asked me if prosauropods are ancestors of all sauropods. Are they? From the name ("pro-sauropods"), I guess that they are, but am I right?
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Are all dinosaur bones radioactive?

I watching some TV program some time ago and a guy in it mentioned that when-ever museums display real dinosaur bones (as opposed to a replica) the bones are painted over with a lead paint, because ...
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Up to date, extensive documentary about dinosaurs? [closed]

I just finished reading the Wikipedia page about dinosaurs, and I very much enjoyed it. I knew that much of what I learned in the 80's as a child is (and was) incorrect, and now that I am a parent, I ...
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1answer
141 views

List of dinosaurs synonyms

Is there a comprehensive list of dinosaurs synonyms with indications of which name is now considered correct? Something like "there's no brontosaurus, there's only Apatosaurus", "there's no Anatotitan,...
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537 views

Why do the proportion of predators increase at mass extinction events?

Why does predation surge with mass extinction? It is caused by extreme selective pressures over resource competition that forces certain species to adapt to predatory niches?
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What species of Cerapoda lived during the Jurassic?

So far, I've found eleven species of Cerapoda that lived during the Jurassic period. Are there any other known species that I've missed? The eleven that I've found out about are: Agilisaurus ...
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1answer
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How did birds survive the KT impact? [closed]

As I understand it, the ejecta resulting from the K-T impact (also known as the end-Cretaceous or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event) re-entered the atmosphere all over the world; the heat from ...
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How did aquatic dinosaurs go extinct?

Dominant theory is that 'normal' dinosaurs went extinct from ether super volcano or meteor impact or combination of both. However there were aquatic dinosaurs that are not present at this day. Was it ...
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0answers
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Why are the largest land/air animals today smaller than in the Mesozoic? [duplicate]

The largest dinosaurs and pterosaurs seem to have been much larger than the largest animal terrestrial/avian species since. Was the Mesozoic somehow more hospitable to large animal species than today'...
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1answer
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Has it been confirmed yet that the DNA found in dinosaurs was really DNA?

I hear different sources claiming different things, bbc said they did, wikipedia says it hasn't which is it?
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Does the fossil record disprove Evolution? [closed]

It is said by people opposed to Evolution, that the fossil record contradicts and disproves it. They say all the animals suddenly appeared, exploded everywhere, were fully formed, had no transitions, ...
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1answer
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How big can cold-blooded animals get?

It seems impossible to have reptiles the size of dinosaurs, just because they are really big! Did they have different systems of maintaining body temperature or maybe they weren't the exact type of ...
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1answer
288 views

Master Catalog of all Fossils / Literal Fossil Record?

Is there a website or other resource that catalogs all fossils ever found? Basically, is there a literal "Fossil Record"? Where do scientists gather their results from excavations? Are they just ...
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Were there any flying dinosaurs?

I've seen some articles which came in contradiction with each other. The first article was talking about flying dinosaurs, dinosaurs with feathers and so on. A couple of other articles are talking ...
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1answer
108 views

How does tree resin capture arthropods?

In regards to a published paper of a spider about to make a meal out of a parasitic wasp (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08912963.2011.640399#.U1kSV14gVBU), it reminded me of a issue I've ...
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1answer
186 views

How to determine whether a newly discovered dinosaur is not a young one and not an entirely different species?

Every once in a while, there is an official announce that a new species has been discovered. For example, paleontologists have recently discovered a dinosaur they named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, which ...
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1answer
140 views

The oldest common ancesstor of all human beings

Do all human beings have a single oldest ancestor (a man and a woman), or were there were many ancestors at the same time at different places on earth? This article sheds some light. Is there another ...
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1answer
136 views

Historical recovery from mass extinction events

Is there a way to generally characterize how species "regrew" after the various mass extinction events happening periodically from 450 Ma to 65 Ma. Would the surviving species just start back where ...
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3answers
1k views

What were the mammal ancestors like 65 million years ago?

What we know about our mammal ancestors that were alive (and survived) at the extinction event 65 million years ago?
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How do we know that dinosaurs were related to lizards and/or birds?

Do we clearly know what the living closest relative of the dinosaurs are? And connected to the first question, in scientific manner how do we know these relationship between extinct species and living ...
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220 views

Descendants of dinosaurs

It is commonly accepted that birds are descendants of dinosaurs. It is nice that not all dinosaurs died out. Are there other animals, descendants of dinosaurs, that survived ? (Maybe not till our ...
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1answer
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Were dinosaurs 'hot-blooded' or 'cold-blooded'?

Were dinosaurs hot-blooded or cold-blooded? NOTE: The popular term 'hot-blooded' means having an internally maintained average body temperature, which is generally more than that of the surroundings, ...
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How did the huge dinosaurs cope with gravity and loads on bones, etc.?

It's very costly to be a huge animal. Your mass grows in cube when you scale up, but you still only have two/four legs to support the same weight. This increases the pressure that your body needs to ...
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Is there any evidence that sexual selection may lead to extinction of species?

Darwin suggested that sexual selection, especially by female choice, may counter natural selection. Theoretical models, such as a Fisherian runaway process, suggest that evolution of preference and ...
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Are there any pre-Holocene venomous animals?

The novel (and subsequently movie) Jurassic Park featured a dinosaur called Dilophosaurus, that was purported to be venomous and had an ability similar to that of the extant spitting cobra. ...